Mak’s specialty is philosophy of biology. More specifically, he is interested in theoretical issues in evolutionary biology and biological systematics.
His research project focuses on the evolution of redundancy. Redundancy is a ubiquitous feature in nature. For example, our body is rife with redundant parts; e.g., humans typically possess two kidneys even though we could survive with only one. In addition to our body, redundancy has been observed in multiple levels of biological organization, such as vertebrate groups, insect colonies, microbial aggregates, and genomes. The working hypothesis of this project is that a better understanding of the phenomenon of redundancy is likely to impact other key theoretical issues in evolutionary biology, including our knowledge of how biological systems tackle uncertainty, the evolution of cooperation, and transitions in individuality.